Arsenal is beginning to ramp up their summer transfer plans in recent days under Mikel Arteta with the prospect of Champions League football next season looming as the Gunners are said to have agreed to a deal for Scottish international left-back Aaron Hickey.
That report comes by way of FootballItalia citing outlet CalcioNapoli24.it, which stated that Arsenal have beaten Serie A outfit SS Napoli in securing the 19-year-old’s signature in a summer move.
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Hickey has shown for Bologna this season and has become a key piece of the puzzle in Emilia-Romagna, making 34-appearances in the Italian top flight this season while scoring 5-goals in the process.
A completed deal would seal a move worth in the region of €20-25m according to the report, and it would signal the second time in as many summer windows that saw Arsenal turn to Bologna to shore up their backline after the deal for Takehiro Tomiyasu last summer which has come off brilliantly for the club this season after the Japanese international hit the ground running at the Emirates Stadium.
But Arsenal is not set to stop their summer plans there, after recent reports have linked the Gunners with closing in on two other deals for Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, as well as Sao Paulo youngster Marquinhos.
With the club set to lose both Alexandre Lacazette as well as Eddie Nketiah, deals for the Brazilian attacking pair directly tackle the missing pieces in the squad left in the wake of the double departure.
When it comes to Aaron Hickey, his tender age could mean that he is more of a long-term development project under Mikel Arteta despite how well he has gotten on in Serie A in the last two seasons, but it could also be direct competition for current backup left-back Nuno Tavares.
Tavares has come under a certain degree of criticism in recent weeks in a handful of questionable performances during his first season at the club, and the arrival of Hickey could throw Tavares’ immediate future in the balance by way of a season-long loan elsewhere, or time in the U23s in order for him to adapt to the club at a different pace.
What is clear, however, is that Arsenal remains looking for young talent as they continue to build a project that will hopefully stand the test of time under Mikel Arteta.